Skip to main content

Full text of "NightRider"

See other formats

what he knew about Ben Sullins. For after Mr. Sills and
Mr. Burden and the rest had left, there was no further talk
of business. The Senator's sister, Lucille Christian, and May
came down, and they all sat around the fire in the long room
which opened to the library. The Senator told jokes, jokes
that kept everyone laughing, and yet he seemed to be doing
it naturally and effortlessly, without attempting to dominate
the party. But, Mr. Munn noticed, his sister never laughed,
never even smiled.

She sat very upright in a small wing chair, somewhat with-
drawn on one side of the fireplace. While the light died at
the windows and the voices went on around her, her gaze
would wander to the centre of the flames. Her hands were
laid palms-down on her knees, the size and boniness of the
knees being somehow apparent under the folds of the black
silk. She did not seem discourteous, or cold in her remote-
ness, her lack of attention. Rather, Mr. Munn thought, she
was like a grown person who sits in the midst of children
while they play. Once when May, who sat near her, spoke to
her, she leaned toward her, apparently not catching the words,
and said, "Yes, child?" May seemed to get along with her.

But when they sat at the table that night, and the light
fell more directly on her face, the hardness and the bitterness
there were more obvious. Her brows were square, the cheek-
bones high, the mouth large-lipped but drawn into a fixed
pattern of will, and the chin bony and prominent. The nose
had a kind of rough aquilinity. The eyes were deep-set and
slaty-blue. Her whole face was like a sculpture in some
greyish stone left unfinished. He noticed her earth-coloured,
bony hands holding the silver or picking up a glass, and
remembered how her hand had felt in his own that morning.

After the meal was over they sat again in the long room.
A negro man came to put more wood on the fire. The men
held glasses of whisky in their hands and took slow, careful
sips, Lucille Christian, drinking a glass of port, was amiably
shaking her head at her father, who had just said he couldn't
igure out why she didn't like to be called Sukie.